The Tycoon's Stowaway(5)

By: Stefanie London



She forced herself to sound excited when really she wanted to find a secluded island and hide until her dancing ability came back. God only knew why she’d given Willa the place’s name. She prayed her friend wouldn’t look it up online.

‘Look, Willa, I’ll have to cut you short. I’m on the road and I need my full concentration to deal with these crazy Sydney drivers.’

Willa chuckled. ‘I forget sometimes that you didn’t grow up in the city. Hopefully we’ll catch up soon?’

The hope in her voice caused a twinge of guilt in Chantal’s stomach. She didn’t want to see the group. Rather, she didn’t want them to see how her life was not what she’d made it out to be.

‘Yeah, hopefully.’

There was nothing like being surrounded by friends, with the sea air running over your skin and a cold drink in your hand. Add to that the city lights bouncing off the water’s surface and a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge against an inky night and you had a damn near perfect evening.

Brodie Mitchell leant back against the railing of his yacht and surveyed the group in front of him. Champagne flowed, music wafted up into the air and the group was laughing and reminiscing animatedly about their time working at the Weeping Reef resort. A long time had passed, but it made Brodie smile to think the group was no less lively now than when they’d all been fresh-faced kids, drunk on the freedom and beauty of resort life.

‘Hey, man.’ Scott Knight dropped down beside him, beer in hand. ‘Aren’t you drinking tonight?’

‘I’m trying to be good for once.’ Brodie grinned and held up his bottle of water in salute. ‘I’m training for a half marathon.’

‘Really?’ Scott raised a brow.

Brodie shoved his friend and laughed. ‘Yes, really.’

As much as he wanted to be annoyed that his friends would assume him incapable of running a half marathon, he kind of saw their point. Running competitively required a certain kind of routine and dedication that wasn’t Brodie’s style. He was a laid-back kind of guy: he thrived on surf, sand, and girls in bikinis. Abstaining from alcohol and waking up at the crack of dawn for training… Not so much.

‘You have to admit it doesn’t seem to fit in with the yachting lifestyle.’ Scott gestured to the scenery around them.

The boat was a sight to behold—luxury in every sense of the word from its classy interior design to the quality craftsmanship out on the deck.

Growing up in a big family had meant the Mitchells’ weekly grocery shop had needed to stretch across many mouths, and schoolbooks had always been passed down the line. They hadn’t been poor, but he’d never been exposed to fineries such as yachts. Now he owned a yacht charter business and had several boats to his name.

‘I didn’t exactly come up with the idea myself,’ Brodie admitted, taking a swig of his water. ‘There’s a guy at the marina back home and he’s always on my back about taking up running. He bet me a hundred bucks I couldn’t train for a race.’

‘So you started with a half marathon?’ Scott shook his head, laughing. ‘Why not attempt a lazy ten k to begin with?’

Brodie shrugged and grinned at his friend. ‘If I’m going to waste a perfectly good sleep-in, it might as well be for something big.’

‘Says the guy who once chose sleep over judging a bikini contest.’

‘And lived to regret it.’

Scott interlocked his fingers behind his head and leant back against the boat’s railings. ‘Those were the days.’

‘You look like you’re living the dream now.’ Brodie fought to keep a note of envy out of his voice.

A slow grin spread over Scott’s face as his fiancée, Kate, waved from the makeshift dance floor where she was shaking her hips with Willa, Amy, and Amy’s friend Jessica. The girls were laughing and dancing, champagne in hand. Just like old times.

‘I am.’ Scott nodded solemnly.

Just as Brodie was about to change the topic of conversation Willa broke away from the group and joined the boys. She dropped down next to Brodie and slung her arm around his shoulders, giving him a sisterly squeeze as she pushed her dark hair out of her face.

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